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Next-Generation Nissan Frontier Could Get Cummins Turbo-Diesel Power

By: Jeff Youngs, 2/11/2014
At the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, Nissan is displaying the Frontier Diesel Runner concept truck, which is based on the 2014 Frontier Desert Runner model that pairs 2-wheel drive with an off-roading stance, suspension, and tires. The automaker is using the truck to gauge consumer interest in a midsize diesel pickup at the largest and best-attended auto show in America.

Referring to the Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner Concept as an example of "innovation that excites," a reference to the company's shift to a new advertising tagline, the automaker explained that the truck is equipped with a 2.8-liter Cummins turbo-diesel engine that makes almost 200 horsepower combined with 350 lb.-ft. of torque. Based on internal testing, Nissan says that if it were to offer this turbo-diesel engine in the Frontier, it would return 35% greater fuel economy than a current model equipped with 2-wheel drive and a V-6 engine. Translated, the estimate would be about 24 mpg in combined driving, compared with 18 mpg in the current Frontier.

To make sure the Frontier Diesel Runner Concept grabs attention in Chicago, Nissan has painted it Arrest Me Red and matte Silver, and has installed Frontier PRO-4X wheels painted silver in front and red in back, fronting contrasting-color brake calipers. Inside, the Frontier Diesel Runner is equipped with carbon-pattern leather seat upholstery and cabin trim, red interior accents, diesel-specific gauges, and more.

There is a good chance that a diesel-powered Frontier will be offered in the future. Nissan has already announced that a Cummins-supplied 5.0-liter turbo-diesel V-8 will be installed in the redesigned 2016 Nissan Titan full-size truck. Plus, two key Frontier competitors, the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado and 2016 GMC Canyon, will offer an optional DuraMax 2.8-liter turbo-diesel engine to midsize truck buyers.

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